Senior doctors are planning to develop their own policy framework for the future of the NHS, as part of an attempt to re-engage clinicians with the changes being made to the health service.

Senior doctors are planning to develop their own policy framework for the future of the NHS, as part of an attempt to re-engage clinicians with the changes being made to the health service.

Doctors' representatives including the British Medical Association, medical royal colleges and acute trust medical directors agreed at a British Association of Medical Managers conference to look at how the medical profession could attempt to lead policy development in the NHS.

BAMM's medical leaders professional council conference agreed that any manifesto was likely to focus on quality of care, patient safety and patient experience.

The themes echo those under discussion by government in the run-up to the next Treasury comprehensive spending review. HSJ understands that the government expects to focus the next planning and priorities framework on broad themes of quality, safety, patient experience and value for money.

Although no firm decision was taken on how to produce policy initiatives from within the medical profession, it was agreed that the council would look at how clinicians could draw up policy, and how such work could be funded.

Among general agreement that the medical profession tended to carp from the sidelines rather than volunteer potential improvements to health policy, the chief medical officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson told the conference that successive governments had failed to learn the lessons of poor clinical engagement when introducing policy changes.

'We have not had any sort of clinical buy-in to some of the fundamental redesigns of the NHS,' he said. 'I can't think of any service redesign where there has been widespread clinical support, whether with this government or the previous one. We have to ask how we can make these changes without the clinical professions on board.'

Sir Liam cited the problems with the Connecting for Health programme as an example of the government's failure to ensure clinicians backed health service changes.

The NHS Confederation is to produce a paper with the joint consultants committee that will explore how clinician-led guidelines could provide a framework for policy design.